Tomorrow is National Walk to Work Day and to celebrate we thought we’d give you a quick brief on all things walking related.
It’s Good for You, and Good for the Planet!
It’s no secret that walking doesn’t have the environmentally damaging impact of other methods of transportation like driving a car or taking public transport. By walking or biking to work, you won’t be contributing to C02 emissions, which are one of the largest drivers of climate change. Even better, without the need to fill up your tank or reload that monthly metrocard, you’ll be putting less stress on your wallet!
Walking Can Improve Your Physical Health
Walking is not only one of the easiest activities you can do, but it also boasts tons of health benefits. Contrary to what some may think, it can contribute to your daily physical activity goals and counts as a moderate form of exercise. If you find it overwhelming to keep up with the latest fitness fads, increasing the amount you walk is always a safe way to create a solid foundation for your fitness routine. Its also an activity that is easy to stick to and doesn’t require special equipment or attire (other than comfy shoes).
Walking more has been shown to:
Reduce the severity of chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes
Decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke
Keep you more alert and feeling less fatigued
Lower cholesterol levels
Help prevent obesity
Walk More, and Feel Better
Walking, like any form of exercise is thought to relieve symptoms of mental health disorders like depression. Getting your body moving releases endorphins that boost your mood and can alleviate stress. Walking in nature or within green spaces can be even more beneficial. A recent article published in The New York Times listed some of the observed positive changes that occur in the brain when we stroll through more natural environments.
Walk, Don’t Run!
If you think walking is too low-impact to be a viable form of physical activity, think again! The main difference between walking and running is that walkers always have one foot on the ground, unlike runners who are entirely airborne at certain points during their strides. This means that when runners feet hit the ground, they experience a stress that is up to 3 times their body weight, making it a high-impact activity. If you want to see significant changes in weight and muscle strength, higher intensity cardio is necessary. However, if you’re concerned about injury, then walking is a great alternative to get your body moving without the risk of hurting yourself. You can also add weights, or walk on elevated and varied terrain to amp it up!
You Can Be Your Biggest Motivation
Walking is one of the easiest physical activities to track. There is no shortage of pedometer and training apps that can track the amount of steps you take in your day. Steps App, Iphone Health App, FitBit, and Nike Fuelband are all great tools to use to track the distance you walked and your daily step count. Some of them have added features such as calorie tracking as well. A good baseline to aim for is 10,000 steps a day. Make it a goal to begin reaching that on a daily basis and then see if you can “step it up” by 2,000 or so - it’s much more motivating to see a measurable number that you can build upon. Make it even more competitive by getting friends and coworkers involved to see if you can outstep one another!